Health Workers Petition Buhari over Appointments to Favour Doctors

Latest nursing news reaching us has it that the Health workers, excluding medical doctors, under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Association (AHPA) have petitioned President Muhammad Buhari over lope-sided appointments in the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) even as they among other things asked for urgent balance in appointments in the interest of peace.

The health workers in a letter to Buhari jointly signed by Chairman JOHESU, Comrade Jay Josiah, and Chairman APHA, Dr. Godswill C. Okara, titled “Appraising Appointments In The Federal Ministry Of Health” noted: “… While Nigeria appears to be on course for a great future, we are worried that the ever-boiling Health Sector appears to be headed for more heated discourse especially against the background of recent appointments in the leadership strata of the Federal Ministry of Health.

“… Your Excellency, the appointment of two Medical Doctors as Ministers in Charge of the Federal Ministry of Health equaled the precedence of former President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, which unfortunately catalyzed unprecedented dislocation of the component elements of the Health Sector in that dispensation.

“The only ameliorating balm in that discourse (the Old Jonathan Order) was that the Permanent Secretary in Charge of the Federal Ministry of Health were always administrators or non-care providers. Today even that has been taken away because the new Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health is also a traditional strong advocate of the interests of only her Medical Doctor colleagues from her time as a Permanent Secretary in the office of the Head of Service of the Federation.

“To compound the woes of all other health workers apart from Doctors which we represent, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity which ordinarily should arbitrate over our welfare demands which the hegemony of Doctors over-bearing leadership truncates at the Federal Ministry of Health is now being headed by yet another Medical Doctor, Dr. Chris Ngige. The obvious fallout of this dangerous but unprecedented structure against the professional destinies of all health workers apart from Doctors can be summarized in the reflected phraseology-calamitous future expectations.

“For a Health Sector where Doctors hitherto reduced a supposed Federal Ministry of Health to a Ministry of Doctor to now be officially and legitimized as home to only Doctors who constitute less than 5% of the workforce at the detriment of the majority of over 95% in our humble opinion Your Excellency, appears to epitomise neglects of the feelings of the gross majority of health workers and will aggravate the volatility in the sector instead of abating it.”

The health workers alleged that the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) is already reaping the expected fruits of the whirlwind of benevolent appointments. Thet wrote: “On Friday, November 13, 2015 the Hon. Minister of Health, Prof. Issac Adewole visited the NMA Secretariat in Abuja where he met both the Nigeria Medical Association President, Dr. Kayode Obembe and National Assocaition of Resident Doctors (NARD) President, Dr. Muhammed Askira.”

JOHESU and AHPA alleged that the Minister of Health was reported to have assured his colleagues to be patient as he would actualize these demands, which included:

*Preservation of the status quo ante in the unskewed appointments in board constitution and membership of the 55 Federal Health Institutions.

*Imposing the Yayale Ahmed Panel report, which only the NMA favours in the Health Sector. This is at a time other health workers are challenging and infact seeking quashing of this report at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN). Today we are aware the Health Minister and Labour Minister are raising legal teams to join forces against us at the NICN.

*Implementing the agenda of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) through the National Health Act. The Federal Ministry of Health has already set up committees and structures made up exclusively of only Doctors as usual.

*Imposing relativity/skipping for Doctors on the Federal Health Institutions even when other health professionals who got National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) judgments in their favour since 2010 have not been paid by some Chief Medical Director (CMDs) in the Federal Health Institutions (FHIs).

*Exclusive overseas training for Medical Doctors through improved residency programmes.

*Designing new welfare schemes for Corper Doctors.

*Introduction of pension and gratuity for Resident Doctors

*Perfecting domination of Doctors in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)

*Payment of Doctor-University Lecturers with the Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS) and privileges.

*Recognition of Doctor’s Postgraduate Fellowship over Ph.D in their careers as academics.

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